Archive for the Category »Blogging Etiquette «

“How dare them?” is what bloggers say when someone steals their content.

Plagiarism is wrong. We all know it.

But, are honest bloggers inadvertently stealing and sharing copyrighted images?

Today’s Lesson

Before joining Pinterest, one of the issues I read about was: are images being uploaded to Pinterest illegally?

Questioning this is photographer and blogger, Elizabeth Halford, who wrote an article titled Will Pinterest Be Sued by Photographers Like Napster was Sued by Musicians? Both her post and the comments raise some interesting points.

ReadWriteWeb published How Pinterest Uses Your Content Without Violating Copyright Laws.

Although it appears Pinterest may be protected, the way I see it is the same may not apply to those who upload images.

Pinterest stresses the importance of linking to the original source of a photo, however when we “repin” a photo or content, unless we follow all of the links, we have no way of knowing if we’re breaking copyright law, nor do we know if the “original” photo is indeed the work of the person whose site it was found on, nor do we always know if the creator of the original image wants their image(s) shared. Add to that how different countries have different laws regarding copyright. Confusing, hey?

But it’s not just Pinterest we need to be concerned with, it’s also the images we upload to our blogs, Facebook, Google +, or any social networking site.

Copyright law may come into play.

As Mike Goad shared, in part, on his well researched site, Copy Right. Copy Sense.,

…As original, creative text flows from the pencil or pen, or as it is pounded into the paper with an old-fashioned typewriter, the copyright protection for those words begins.

For other types of work, the medium in which the work is fixed is different. Movies are fixed in the film, videos in the tape, paintings “in” the canvas and so on.

The key is that to be copyrightable a work must be in a form that can be copied.

Wikimedia includes publications on copyright, as well.

Although some items can not be copyrighted, many are indeed covered by copyright. Wikimedia includes a long list which includes:

  1. Photos of people – sometimes copyright applies
  2. Screenshots
  3. Architecture
  4. CD and book covers
  5. [Some] clothing
  6. Comics
  7. Logos
  8. [Some] maps
  9. Toys
  10. Videos

Wikimdeia also includes links to bad sources, as well as free sources.

For bloggers, or anyone who uploads photos online, it’s hard to know if we’re doing the right thing.

Some will assume just because a photo is not watermarked, it can be freely used. As Mike shares, that’s not the case.

Absence of copyright notice is no longer a reliable indicator of whether a work is protected.

In life, we often hear, “ignorance is bliss”.

With regard to copyright, it’s not.

There could be repercussions.

Today’s Assignment

Where do you get the images for your blog posts?

Do you worry about the copyright of these images?

Care to share?

signature for blog post

Other great links on copyright include:

Legal Pitfalls in Taking or Using Photographs of Copyright Material, Trademarks and People,
by World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Legal Guide for Bloggers
at Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

I enjoy reading other blogs, seeing what changes bloggers are making to their sites and watching the growth of my blogging buddies.

I like to see other bloggers succeed and it thrills me when I see comments stacking up on their blog posts.

I know the blog author is ecstatic, but sadly my name isn’t always in that list of commenters.

Sometimes, time is not on my side.

Today’s Lesson

I wrote a blog post in 2008 which discussed blog etiquette. One of the items I included in the list was,

If someone visits your blog, and leaves a comment, make time to visit their blog as well. It’s common courtesy. If you cannot identify with their most current post, dig through their archives and find one you can leave a short comment on.

In the beginning, I did that. Religiously.

Each time someone commented on my blog, I visited them, subscribed and reciprocated with a comment, too.

The number of blogs in my reader was growing and I began to spend more of my blogging time visiting and commenting.

As I added more bloggers names  to my “New Blog Of The Week” series, my reader began to bulge with new blog posts. (The series ended with 90 bloggers being showcased.)

More times than I can count, due to time constraints, I would “mark all as read” and start fresh.

When following blogs in my reader didn’t work anymore, I switched my tactic and went back to trying to visit everyone who commented on my posts.

Unfortunately I couldn’t keep up.

I had broken my own rule, and I felt shame.

I felt like a hypocrite.

If I knew then (when I wrote the blog etiquette post) what I know now, I would have worded that differently, or added a disclaimer* and said, “if time permits”.

It’s not that I don’t care when you post something new, it’s that my time is needed elsewhere.

Thus, if you don’t see me commenting on each of your posts, know it’s not you. It’s me.

You’re never far from my thoughts, and fortunately I know right where to find you. 8)

That said, I understand if you’re in the same position and don’t have time to read my posts and/or comment here.

Today’s Assignment

Do you reciprocate each comment you receive on your blog?

When time is short, do you skip commenting or have you found a technique which allows you to do it all?

Care to share?

signature for blog post

*I’ll be adding a link to this post.

Photo of brightly colored ballons

“I’m late for the party”, is how many will start a comment if they are commenting a day or two after a post is published.

It almost sounds like an apology.

To a blog author, the “party” never ends, but person commenting may feel their comment won’t be seen.

In fact, because of this, some won’t comment.

Today’s Lesson

One reason we may end up being late for the party is because Your Today Is My Tomorrow.

We’re talking about time zones.

In the comments on the Blogging Etiquette post, Wilma who blogs about Bridging the gap between Knowing and Doing pointed out,

…when posting [publishing in a different time zone] some people can never be the first commenter.

That’s true. If our post goes public at noon our time, it could be 2 a.m. the next day on other parts of the globe.

Wilma’s comment raises a second issue.

Does the order in which we comment make a difference?

I’ve read how being the first one to comment can be extremely beneficial. It’s gets our name out there and those who comment after us may click on our name, thus driving more traffic to our site.

That leads to the next question, “If we end up being the last to comment, will our words of wisdom be all for naught?”

Today’s Assignment

For Wilma, I’ll ask, “Should we consider our blogging friends in different time zones and publish at different times once in awhile? ”

Do you see a benefit in being the first one to comment on a post?

If you arrive “late” on a post, will you comment or do you just move on?

signature for blog post.

Photo Credit: Pink Sherbet Photography

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